Birthday vs. Crockpot (Which is Better?)

Tuesday April 12th has been a kick ass day. Mostly because it’s my sister Anna’s birthday, and a little bit because I bought a crockpot. I’m currently taking suggestions for the best crockpot recipes you have because the possibilities are endless, and in case you were wondering… I’m drooling with anticipation. Most nights I don’t eat dinner until after I get home from the gym, 8 or 9 PM, so this has been a monumental purchase in my adult life – take that!

But, mostly today has been awesome because Anna is awesome. She is my big sister and the person I’ve looked up to my entire life. When we were little kids she started doing gymnastics and I loved watching her swing around on the bars so I started doing gymnastics. Anna HATED that I was doing the same thing as her so she quit and started taking ballet classes. For a while I stuck with gymnastics only, but as I got older I proceeded to follow in her footsteps and took a few dance classes.

It turned out I wasn’t much of a ballerina but preferred jazz so she lucked out there. Until, we both joined our high school dance team. Not only did we live together, but we attended practices, football games, basketball games, and all things POM together. I sort of expected that we would fight all the time – surprisingly we didn’t. If anything we grew closer together. Then when we went to college several years apart at the University of Colorado we became even closer. Now we do lots of things together – ski, hike, sing horribly, dance, cook, run, yoga, read – just to name a few. Without Anna I wouldn’t have a profound respect for a cool restaurant bathroom, or stop at as many architecturally beautiful buildings in whatever city we are visiting, but I wouldn’t have life any other way.

There’s nothing better than having sisters.

Someone who you can just look at and they know you’re asking to borrow chapstick. Someone who will laugh at your stupid jokes and puns. Someone who will always tell you the truth, no matter what. Someone who knows your deepest, darkest secrets, but still loves you anyways.

Thankfully, I have two of them and they are incredibly inspiring, hard working, generous, creative, and kind. I’m also lucky enough to have made friends in my lifetime who are my sisters in a different way. Everyday I celebrate y’all, but today I celebrate Anna. I know I’m not there in person to drink margaritas @ El Camino, but I’m there in spirit (while simultaneously trying to figure out what I’ll make in my new crockpot)

Cheers to you! Here are just a few of my favorite pics –

 

Big Spoon, Little Spoon

I have a confession to make. I’m in a blog writing slump.

I’m 8 posts, 1 page, 10 comments, and 2 months along in this journey of finding grace within my everyday life and I’ve become stuck. Each week it takes me a little bit longer to decide on something to write about, and it takes even longer to get myself to sit down and actually start forming sentences. Sunday’s have been good writing days for me because I’ve had Saturday to decompress, but even after spending a lovely day at the park with lovely people I only feel 1/2 as inspired as I would like. I mean, part of that could be that I just finished watching Mad Max: The Fury Road and this is one of the world’s least inspiring movies. Sure – it’s dramatic and a little heart wrenching at times, but c’mon… how does someone make an entire 2 hour movie about people chasing each other around a desert? I should have known I would hate it. I’m a hopeless romantic with a love for all things Wes Anderson, and one of my favorites movies is Pride and Prejudice. So there’s that.

I digress.

Last night I made risotto. A creamy goat cheese risotto that should have come with a warning – “this dish should not be taken lightly”. Just an FYI, under no circumstances should you make this for the very first time right as 14 people are arriving at your apartment. As I learned yesterday evening, you need to constantly stir the rice as it cooks, otherwise it will stick to the pan and burn.

Picture this – I’m half ready, frantically stirring two pans of our only dinner as my friends begin to arrive. I’m going to screw up my first dinner party all because I want to try making something new and exciting. My thought is that what would be a better dish for wine night than a main course cooked in wine? Luckily, they brought their excellent spoon handling skills to help me out. Also, one of my friends happened to go to culinary school so she should probably take all of the credit for last night’s success. Which, in my opinion, it turned out to be. We drank wine, laughed, and then laughed some more.

In a way, I think my life is sometimes a little bit like making last night’s risotto. I’ve chopped and diced the ingredients I think I need for the final product and I’ve started to cook the rice. I’m incrementally adding wine or broth while also constantly stirring. I’ve jumped all in, past the point of no return and right now I must have paused the stirring because I’m getting stuck to the pan; I’m feeling uninspired and faithless in the face of uncertainty. Thankfully, my friends are arriving and they have come with constant words of encouragement and support to keep my spoon in motion. They haven’t cooked this kind of risotto either, but they are willing to help so that I don’t get burned.

It’s still unclear if this main dish will come out as a success but I’m crossing my fingers for the best, and with that I raise my glass to risotto and uncovering the grace in the least likely of places.

Easy like Sunday morning

I went into this past weekend with zero plans and it went fabulously.

On Saturday, I went to my one of my favorite coffee shops and sipped on my favorite drink, watched a movie at the movie theater, went to a bocce ball bar but did not play any bocce ball, and discovered a restaurant that dedicates their menu to various flavors of grilled cheese and tomato soup. The place is appropriately named Tom and Chee.

Then on Sunday I made a plan. I set my alarm for 8:00 am in order to get up and get my day going with a trip to CrossFit. If you know anything about me then you might know that I am often always ambitious when I set my morning alarms.  (Confession, I am the snooooze button’s biggest fan).

I can imagine you’ve guessed by now that I somehow overcame my desire to press snooze one more time and made it to the gym. Well… I hate to break it to you, but you would have guessed wrong. It turns out that bad habits simply don’t go away just because its the weekend. Although, I did manage to wake up enough to check the WOD (workout of the day) and find out that it was none other than Murph*. This promptly influenced my decision to stay in bed.

Okay, well now I’ve rambled on and on about something I didn’t even do. But, even if I had, my weekend would have remained fabulous. You see, because while all of the things that happened brought me joy there was one thing that really made it magical, and it came in the form of a 3-tier industrial style shelf.

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Exhibit A. This shelf has found its permanent home in my small (very small) kitchen. Now I have more storage and chopping space for when the cooking gets wild. 

Who knew a $30 purchase at Target would make such a difference? Seriously – SO. HAPPY.

Just goes to show that the simple moments are the ones that matter. I’m trying to cultivate more of those and I’m excited to keep sharing them with you.


*Sidenote: For those of you that don’t know CrossFit. Murph is a Hero WOD. It’s done to honor the fallen Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 and this was his favorite workout. It is killer. The workout (for your fastest time):

1 mile run – 100 pull ups – 200 push ups – 300 squats – 1 mile run

If you complete the workout without scaling anything then you also wear a 20-lb vest. Like I said, killer.